The model

A 3d printer is a machine. A machine at your service…
Without a model, it won’t work!
Its computer part is waiting for instructions in the form of a file with a precise format to start printing.
A simple pencil will not be enough, it is necessary to integrate the volume and create a mesh that is all the more precise as the part to be made has a complex surface.

Choose a model

In fact, there are several ways of doing this

The 3d scanner

It is used to raise the surface of a volume. It can be any everyday object, or a model made in the workshop and that one wishes to reproduce individually or in series.
An interesting feature is that you can play with the scale and increase or decrease the size at will. Hello Russian dolls!
The online offer is quite large from very cheap to sophisticated. You can also use apps for smartphones.
To help you in your choice :
Primante3d, a very professional and complete website.
See also the excellent video of the Frères Poulain “an incredible free 3d scanner”.

A word of augmented reality with Yeehaw Wand a kind of spoon to capture in 3d the object of your choice
Things are moving very fast in this area. Keep up to date!

Choose a ready-made model!

And yes, online model sites are abundant! There’s something for everyone…
A few examples:
And if you are interested in reproducing fossils, visit 3d-fossils.

Create your own 3d model

Thanks to Jonathan Keep for his remarkable work, by a talented ceramist.
A very good starting point, very well documented.

For our part we use Sketchup (exists in free version) quite easy to use.
Fusion 360® from Autodesk and Rhino-Grasshopper® are more difficult to access but allow a great freedom of shapes particularly adapted to ceramic creativity.

In association with 3dPotter, Emmerging Objects now offers the subscription-based online software Potterware, which lets you create your own models with virtually no learning curve: no need to know 3d software to start printing! It’s all in one interface. Just great!

Be careful: if you’re going to do 3d drawing, start by practising on very simple shapes !

From model to print

The 3d printer works in successive layers. Once the model has been made, it must therefore be cut into as many “slices” as necessary. This is the work of the French “slicers” slicers.
Don’t panic! Most 3d drawing softwares have an export function in .stl format, the format that the printer can read.
We are happy, you know what!